With hurricane Irene closing in on the East Coast, I feel like a post on how to deal with emergencies is due.
First off, as a disclaimer I must say that I’ve lived almost my entire life in NYC and don’t exactly have a lot of experience with natural disasters. Though lately we’ve been getting quite a few (tornados, earthquake, and now the hurricane). Hurricane Irene is the most serious natural disaster that I’ve had to face, and I’m preparing as much as I can.
First, I have to make sure that I have a safe place to bring all the animals in my care in case we need to evacuate my apartment. In addition to Charlie, Emma, and Tigress, I have a client’s dog, Rally, staying with me as well. If the storm’s not too bad and we just need to leave my apartment (I’m on the ground floor and in an evacuation zone, so there’s a good chance we might get flooded), we can go to my good friend who lives in the same neighborhood, but on higher ground (and on the 3rd floor). If my entire neighborhood experiences an evacuation, we can go to my mother’s house, a 20 minute ride away. If all of NYC gets swallowed by the storm, we can all take a 2 hour drive to my father’s house in Central NJ.
Second, I have to make sure that I have proper containment systems for all the critters. Tigress’ crate training comes in handy here. My car is unfortunately too small to fit three large crates, but can hold two. Rally and Emma need them most. I have martingale collars, and extra leashes for everyone, as well as a harness for Tigress, just in case (I’ll probably tie her to her crate as a back up).
****Edit: Thanks so much to My Life with Flyball Dogs for pointing out that it’s not just important to have crates (and properly sized for your dog/cat), but to have animals that are crate trained. I mentioned that Tigress is crate trained, but it’s equally as important for all the dogs to be crate trained and to be able to settle in a crate in distracting/stressful environments. Most shelters won’t accept pets with their humans, but the ones that do require that all pets are in crates. You don’t want to be turned away from a shelter because your dog won’t stay in a crate. I’m working on editing Tigress’ crate training video and will post as soon as I do. If she can do it, your dog can do it!
Thirdly come muzzles. Rally needs one because he may become very agitated during such severe weather and I need to be able to handle him without fear – Emma needs one just in case we’re around strange people.
Fourth is food. I have a freezer full of frozen meat which should keep everyone here fed for up to 3-4 days if the power goes out but we’re still able to stay here. If we have to evacuate, I have a 3 days supply of freeze dried food for everyone. My neighbors went with me to Costco today to stock up on nonperishable people food as well.
Fifth, water. I have a 12 pack of 1.5 liter water bottles. Pups have a 2 gallon capacity water jug that I will refill just before the storm is supposed to hit.
Sixth, “go bags” for me and the pups. First aid kits, medications, important paperwork, extra leashes and collars, extra keys, IDs, passport, money, credit cards.
Seventh – make sure every dog and Tigress has a properly fitting collar with tags that are up to date.
Eighth, fill up the car’s gas tank.
Ninth, I made sure to call or otherwise contact as many people as I could who are in town to make sure they’re OK. Apparently my neighbor from across the hall, who is 7 months pregnant with twins no less, had no idea the hurricane was coming and I may have really helped them out with the heads up. I may also help out some people with pets who don’t have cars get to their safe locations prior to the storm, just in case.
And I wanted to share my very first edited video. I realize it’s shoddily done and needs help, but I’m hoping with some experience future videos will be better. It’s a short video on how I’m working with Charlie to accept a muzzle. He does NOT like wearing things, especially on his face, so as much as he’s giving me in this video is amazing.
Remember that even if your dog isn’t aggressive it’s a great idea to work on acceptance of a muzzle for emergency situations like the one we’re unexpectedly facing with hurricane Irene.
And here’s a quick video of Emma’s second shaping session with the muzzle.
** For everyone who’s subscribed to my Youtube channel, please note that I switched accounts and am closing the old one.**
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!